Sadistic Smash Hit: “Seven” (1995)

“Earnest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.” I agree with the second part.” – Morgan Freeman as Det. William Somerset

Image result for Seven film images brad pitt
image via se7enthemovie.com

“Twisted” does not even begin to describe the psychological horror flick, “Seven.” In his second crack at big-budget filmmaking following “Aliens 3,” David Fincher made a film out of everyone’s worst nightmare: a meticulous,  psychopathic serial killer who is smarter than the police.

The film stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as police officers David Mills and William Somerset, respectively. As they embark on their first case together, the new partners are called to the scene of a gruesome crime. Seeing the literal handwriting on the wall, old-timer Detective Somerset correctly assumes this crime is just the beginning of a heinous killing spree by a methodical killer. He implores his captain (R. Lee Ermey) to take Mills off the case because he doesn’t think a rookie detective should take this on his first time around the block.

Image result for Seven film images
image via RogerEbert.com

Inevitably, they continue on in the investigation without intervention. The detectives soon find themselves knee deep in an Old Testament-style killing maze, each murder bloodier and more maniacal than the last.

“Seven,” is one of those films that is so disturbing, I’m afraid to tell other people I enjoy it. It is a psychological mind f***. Its buddy cop meets Charles Manson.

Kevin Spacey plays the psychopath. Say what you will about Kevin Spacey; his acting in this film is superb. The man really does have an incredible creative ability on screen. It’s a shame that such a talented actor could also be a complete scoundrel.

Image result for Seven film images
image via aworldoffilm.com

The actors in this film blend and play off each other in such a way they all hold equal weight in the symmetry of the story. When the movie ended, or, should I say when I finally snapped out of my debilitating post-viewing coma, I really took the time to appreciate the quality of the actors’ interactions. Brad Pit has this cocky, yet well-meaning persona about him that allows us to see his true range as an actor. When he cries on screen in this film, it’s in such stark contrast to his previous macho bravado that it strikes the viewer hard. Morgan Freeman as the worn out senior detective is a thing of beauty. His performance is the equivalent of chipping away at a rock until it takes shape as a statue. Kevin Spacy darkens every scene with a disturbingly quiet demeanor that haunts the other main characters with stifling uncertainty.

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Every ounce of character development in this film puts another piece of the puzzle in place. Many of the lines have hidden meanings and dark foreshadowings like a one-two punch of confusion and dread. It doesn’t surprise me that David Fincher went on to make movies like “Fight Club,” “Zodiac,” and “Girl With a Dragon Tattoo”; once you make a movie involving a scene where the phrase “cutting off the nose to spite the face,” is pertinent, you’re no longer afraid to explore avant-garde material.

“Seven” progresses with an intense cinematographic style that prompts you to lean forward towards your television screen as if you were behind the camera yourself.

Final Thoughts

“Seven” is not a film every person will enjoy. It is dark and dreary, but its plot twists and brilliant performances are cinematic gold. This is a film to watch with a subjective mind; if you’re fascinated by the dark, scary places of human intellect and frightening tales with a true crime slant, this movie will interest you. If you’re more of a Doris Day, Donna Reed movie enthusiast, don’t even read the synopsis of this film.

Long story short, I think this movie is great and has a lot to offer. Just make sure you have a strong stomach and blanket to hide under.

Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

 

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